Herald JournalHerald Journal, Dec. 20, 2004

Veterinarian enjoys house calls, trying new things

By Ryan Gueningsman
Staff Writer

It’s obvious that veterinarian Melissa Shelton loves what she does for a living.

Not long after establishing Crow River Mobile Veterinary Services, Shelton, the “house call” veterinarian, has set up her own modern veterinary lab in the basement of her Middleville Township home, located just north of Howard Lake.

“We’re small, but very state of the art,” Shelton said, pointing out modern IV pumps, anesthesia, sterilization equipment, and a dental x-ray unit for animals.

“The dental x-ray unit allows us to do lots of advanced dental procedures,” Shelton said. She has completed a lot of training in dentistry, and continues to advance her studies in not only animal dentistry, but other aspects of the veterinary world.

“Vets tend to fall into a habit of going to continuing education of things that they like,” she said. “I try to force myself to go to things that I’m not necessarily as interested in, as well.”

Shelton is a 1999 graduate of the University of Minnesota, and while in college, did a lot of speciality training in exotic animals. She spent six weeks training in Florida, and four weeks in a raptor center studying orthopedics in birds.

She said dentistry and exotic animals are her two passions when it comes to her work.

“I don’t know why I love the things everyone else hates,” she said with a laugh. She has also developed a niche for treating ear infections in animals.

She worked for a year in Minneapolis following her graduation from the University of Minnesota, but felt constrained by the clinic’s policy of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” referring to the lack of advancements in using new techniques and procedures that she had taken away from medical school.

She began doing house calls in May 2001, which she said has been a fabulous experience for her, being able to tend to animals in their home environments.

Shelton and her husband, Winston, have been developing a clinic in their home, where they now do surgeries, dental work, and other aspects of veterinary studies.

Her husband has become a veterinary technician, working alongside his wife.

“He was my assistant for a long time by default,” she said with a laugh. “He’s learned a lot by working with me.”

The two will make house calls, or take animals into their home by appointment, including evenings and weekends.

“There are no set hours right now,” she said. “It’s whatever people need, including some emergency services.”

Shelton said that the closest emergency veterinary clinics are located in Golden Valley and St. Cloud. Shelton can be contacted at (612) 636-8038.

“Animals tend to hide their pain,” Shelton said. “Since they can’t tell you what hurts, you just give them the best care to try to manage it.”

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